• Thirsty Thursday

    Published on 04-19-2012 12:10 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic & modern, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Mojito, origination—circa late 1800’s.

    I am still on this ‘classic’ kick of late—making it a point to highlight some unusual and some familiar favorites of all time. And yes, the Mojito (one of the most maligned drinks for various reasons) is one of them! It may seem mundane and boring—but really a famously delicious, fantastic cocktail when prepared the proper way. I sense the heat is coming—so even more reason to get everyone on board with the perfect warm weather libation.

    First off before I get into the origination and preparation of the Mojito, I feel it necessary to shed a new light on this classic and dispel any heartache and angst by many a’ bartender and aspiring bartenders out there. I know many of you have ‘braved’ such potential angst and ‘death-stares’ by a bartender when ordering a mojito! It is the look of ‘are you kidding me right now—I am buried, and you want a the most ...
    by Published on 04-12-2012 10:40 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic & modern, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Bijou, Modern Bartenders Manual, Harry Johnson, 1900

    “All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.”—Friedrich Nietzsche. I believe more than ever in this statement, after all my years of bartending and serving many a’ varied folk.

    When we talk about flavor vs. taste, we must make a very clear distinction. Taste is something that I believe to have grown out of a place, a tradition/culture, or an artisan method; then there is FLAVOR—a trademarked concoction that is usually developed in a conference room or lab—validated by focus groups. Why am I bringing this up?

    Well, after nearly nine months of researching and writing articles about cocktails, spirits and their link to history, one thing has became glaringly apparent—everything is about taste, and we all have our preferences. If any one person pays close enough attention (hopefully) to my articles, they ...
    by Published on 03-29-2012 11:10 AM
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    Side note from kir: There's no question that Stephen is extremely knowledgeable in concocting a spectacular drink. When I walk into Cin Cin, I ask him to surprise me with something original and he mixes up a fantastic cocktail for my taste buds to savor. However, how many of us pay attention to which brand of alcohol he is using?

    If you are a regular reader of InsideLG, you know that Stephen features recipes created with Old World Spirits. Did you know that Old World Spirits is rated as a “Best In Glass” for Gin in the current Sunset magazine? Sunset mentioned that Blade Gin was "best mixed in an Aviation," which we all know Stephen featured on InsideLG earlier this month! Thank you Stephen for introducing us to this delicious local brand! Now, here's Thirsty Thursday:


    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic & modern, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Classic Martini featuring Blade Gin, by Old World Spirits

    Please be patient with my article this time around folks—it’s slightly tedious, but well worth the read!

    Okay, every once in a while
    ...
    by Published on 03-22-2012 10:40 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Blackthorn featuring Wild Goose Rare Irish Whiskey

    Okay folks, I tried, but I couldn’t let go of this beautiful spirit. It has so many layered nuances and makes for such great cocktail making—even though the Irish are not known for cocktails! But hey, it hasn’t been quite a week yet since we celebrated the ‘day of the green’, so figured it was okay to keep paying homage for another week, and enjoy another ‘pleasure’ from the green isle!

    This liquid gold reminds me of Rye Whiskey with all of its spice and earthiness. I believe Rye makes some of the best cocktails out there if you find the right one. In any case, this cocktail is SERIOUS! I first discovered a few years back bartending in Oakland—yes, that Oakland (I get around). I helped open a bar there, and the focus was long forgotten classics that were all about the spirit and not all of the ‘stuff’ ...
    Published on 03-15-2012 11:08 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Emerald - featuring Wild Goose Rare Irish Whiskey

    Okay, I know it is not quite St. Patrick’s Day yet, but figured it is only a few days away—why not get an early start! Plus, it gives me a chance to do a little research on classic Irish cocktails. Ooops!!! As hard as I tried, digging through my old cocktail books and various ‘clippings’ out of drink magazines resulted in nothing more than Irish coffees and Hot Whiskey cocktails! There is nothing wrong with it, but not unusual or unique.

    I would imagine the word cocktail to an Irish person is synonymous with just a slug o’ whiskey backed with a Guinness or the like. I can’t really envision going to an Irish Pub and watching someone put together a fanciful cocktail with artisanal grace. And this is not a knock to the Irish—just a fact!

    The obvious starting point, for a proper St. Patrick’s Day cocktail, ...
    by Published on 03-08-2012 11:06 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Aviation featuring Blade Gin by Old World Spirits.

    Well, the weather is a’ changing…again! It keeps me on my toes as to what to feature next. I believe in ‘sipping’ or ‘knocking’ back (depending on the situation!) cocktails that suit the temperature outside. With this in mind…the Aviation cocktail seems perfect! It is a crisp and refreshing cocktail, but with enough contemplative notes to warrant ‘sipping’ versus ‘knocking’ it back. For those of you who remember my article a little while back on the ‘Crusta’, this all makes sense…I hope!

    I know I have been on this pre-prohibition cocktail of late, but now is the time to slip into the more modern day creations that all pay homage to the classics! The Manhattan, Aviation and Crusta are prime examples. It was a sign that we were beginning to make better ‘hooch’, so the main spirit began to be showcased more versus ...
    Published on 03-01-2012 05:15 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: The Manhattan featuring Eagle Rare 10-year Bourbon

    Well, I think I have opened up a ‘pandora’s box’ for myself! After the last two weeks of writing about some classic cocktails—I realized there are so many to talk about. And I think many are misaligned or underestimated. I feel the need to convince folks that they’re not just drinks your pappy or grandpa drank during the era of Old Spice cologne and suspenders!

    If memory serves you and myself correctly, I believe I have talked about the original Old-Fashioned, Margarita, and the Martini. Another true classic—and perhaps my all-time favorite is the Manhattan. I can’t count how many times though, when I mention the word Manhattan, people turn their nose up—seemingly in disgust. Is it perceived as an old-mans’ cocktail—leather sofa, dark lighting, cigar smoke, or the fact that bourbon and vermouth reminds of the bottles of elixirs we saw as kids way back in the corner of some cabinet at a relatives house collecting dust? Whatever the case, PLEASE give the Manhattan another chance and its due respect.
    ...
    Published on 02-23-2012 11:30 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: Whiskey Crusta - featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

    Okay everyone, I am back—finally! This cocktail was created for warm, sunny days designed to ‘wet the whistle’ and put some ‘vigor’ back into your step. I wouldn’t normally be featuring this drink in ‘winter’—but as I look outside, well…I think it calls for a refreshing libation, such as this.

    The first thing to know is that ‘crustas’ (pronounced croo-sta) are a category of cocktails—such as cobblers, fizzes, and sours. The creation of the crusta came about as juice (not a lot!) started being introduced into cocktails. In the mid-nineteenth century, folks began appreciating the newly introduced ‘iced cocktails’—the idea of a quick blast of something refreshing and balanced versus the strongly alcoholic mixture of straight booze, bitters and sugar. The most readily available ‘something’ else to put in a cocktail was of course, ...
    Published on 02-02-2012 10:50 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.


    Today’s cocktail: Herb Sling—featuring Blade Gin—by Old World Spirits




    Because I'm celebrating my 6 month anniversary on InsideLG, I decided to take a look back at my first not-so good post! "Thirsty Thursday" has come a long way, if I do say so myself. I'm sharing the "Herb Sling" again - I know there are new readers who didn't see this original article. Cheers!

    I am sitting on my front porch staring at all these herbs that have taken off from the all the rain and heat wondering how am I going to use them in my next cocktail. I know I love gin (don’t worry, come see me at Cin Cin and you will too), and wanted to embrace its herbaceous quality. I love gin gimlets but usually too sweet, unbalanced, and 1-dimensional. So, a handful of herbs, some simple syrup, dry vermouth, the delicious local Blade Gin from Old World Spirits—and viola, magic in ...
    by Published on 01-26-2012 10:30 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I
    feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail
    : Spice is Right featuring California Alambic Brandy and O’ Henry Peach Eau-De-Vie (brandy) by Old World Spirits




    Today’s post will be somewhat short and sweet. I am preparing for an event in San Francisco today called the Science of the Cocktails, HERE is the link if you would like to check it out! It will be a ton of fun, but a lot of work—prepping to make over 500 cocktails, so my time today is limited—please forgive me!

    This cocktail is a break away from the ‘old-school’ cocktail forum as of late…it will be back next week. I will briefly talk about the two types of spirits I am featuring, so as to put to rest the negative ‘stigma’ brandy gets now and again.

    First, the Alambic or Alembic Brandy: The term comes form the Greeks, and is just a process by which brandy (cognac) is produced/distilled. In America, we cannot call it Cognac or Armagnac
    ...
    by Published on 01-19-2012 11:00 AM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.


    Today’s Cocktail: Fancy Vermouth Cocktail featuring Carpano Antica Vermouth and Maraschino Liqueur



    There may be few believers in a tasty Vermouth Cocktail, but I hope as you read further and experiment—I might just change your mind…slightly. Remember, I have changed many a’ mind on Gin and Whiskey, so don’t underestimate the power of thee!

    I already know what most are thinking---I can’t stand Vermouth! And I completely understand. Way back when before my ‘bartending’ days I thought of Vermouth as being for cooking or what Great Grandma reached for from time to time way back in the pantry cupboard, where a bottle had sat for some odd amount years of collecting dust particles from the old spice rack—and pouring just enough in a small glass to wet the whistle and provide a little ‘getty-up’ for the afternoon tea-time! And let me tell you, I have seen it—it was my Great Grandma, and the stuff tasted and smelled like 30-year ...
    by Published on 01-12-2012 06:10 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail
    : The Martinez featuring Blade Gin or Rusty Blade by Old World Spirits
    ...
    by Published on 01-05-2012 06:15 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: El Presidente featuring Angostura 1919 Eight-Year Old Rum

    Happy New Year!! Okay folks, so this next cocktail is not to pay homage to the upcoming presidential race—although, not a bad idea! There are two other reasons…Jimmy, my other fantastic half behind the Cin Cin bar bringing it to my attention again, and for the simple fact it falls into that ‘forgotten’ but ‘not lost’ category I plan on bringing to one all for the new year!

    My goal for the next few months is to scour and research the cocktail chronicles that are out there to find some of the best classic libations that have been all but forgotten. There will be a few ‘riff’s’ of my own or Jimmy’s that may sneak in, but I really want to expose all those that come here to read my column, to the true form and creation of great American Cocktails---the odd, the amazing, and any in between.

    I know in past articles I talk about how or ...
    by Published on 12-29-2011 06:30 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.

    Today’s Cocktail: Fish House Punch (New Years Punch) featuring Kuchan Alambic Brandy and Flor d’ Cana Rum

    Yikes! It is the end of the year—and I felt the pressure to end it with a grandiose cocktail, something that kicks us off right for 2012. I think the Punch is the perfect one! It is of course, the genesis of the cocktail—and this particular punch is rumored to have been the first ‘composed’ libation in America, hmm…

    David Wondrich—the amazing Cocktail Aficionado, and author of one of the all-time greatest cocktail compositions, calls it the ‘greatest of all American Punches, deserves to be protected by law, taught in the schools, and made mandatory for every holiday celebration”…’and its formula delicious and deadly.'

    In general, the Bowl of Punch was a transatlantic creation with a little smuggled French brandy here and a little native New England rum there—all in all, pretty much the same things going into the bowl for Britain and America—just changing the juices and sweetener. So, why is the Punch, so famous or great amongst them all? Well, ...
    by Published on 12-22-2011 12:15 PM
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    This is for all of those aspiring—& non-aspiring cocktail making, shaking, stirring, slinging bartenders out there--no mixologists allowed! This is my weekly post of cocktails—classic, modern & new creations, spirits, and a little cocktail history that I feel is worthy of sharing.



    Today’s Coctkail
    : Last Word—featuring three classic pre-prohibition spirits…



    Okay everyone, I am sorry I missed last week! I was planning on writing about the Classic Mai Tai, while I was in Kona on vacation getting a little R & R, but I got too relaxed and couldn’t get it together. Hopefully, only a few are mad at me! In any case, a Mai Tai in Hawaii is nothing close to the original, believe it or not—so no one missed too much. You can come down to Cin Cin and get an original if y’all need a little taste of summer to get you through the winter!

    This next cocktail is an interesting choice for the holiday season perhaps, but there is something about it that tastes likes Christmas—the sweet, the spice, and everything nice—oh, and it is Christmas tree green! Most importantly this cocktail is for one of my most dedicated fans—Suzy (aka Yogasuzy)—she has been extremely patient waiting for me to talk about this one in my blog. It is one of my all ...

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